Remembering Senator Edward Brooke (’48)

Obama, Congressional Leaders Honor Former Senator Edward William BrookeI am sorry to report that Senator Edward Brooke (’48) passed away today at the age of 95.  The press coverage of his life – and death – is extensive. See, e.g., http://bit.ly/14mboNs

While there is little for me to add to the factual information in the press reports, I would like to say just a few words about my personal experience with the Senator.

I first met him when he came to BU to donate his papers to the Gotlieb Archive.  I was the Interim Dean then and sat in the back, awed by the occasion and his presence. Imagine my shock when in the middle of his speech, he recognized me after reading an article in the Globe about BU Law’s increasing its loan repayment assistance endowment by $500,000. He emphasized the importance of public service and was proud of his alma mater’s legacy and ongoing commitment.

Needless to say, we became great friends quickly! It was a singular honor of my life to attend the ceremony at which President Obama awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal.

I loved visiting the Senator and his wife Anne at their home in Miami. It was humbling to see the memorabilia associated with a life of public service and to talk about current issues and hear the Senator’s perspective.

Senator Brooke stands for many things and we are proud to claim him as our own and as one of our – and our nation’s – “firsts.”  Yet, for me, he transcends both race and politics. I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to meet a man of his wisdom, kindness, generosity and humility. I will miss him.

One Comment

Howard Altarescu posted on January 4, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Beautiful sentiments. BU Law is a special place, as evidenced by alums like Senator Brooke, and by our Dean.

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